Thursday, July 01, 2004

Wings sign Draper

After reports that a deal had been made Tuesday night via, Kris Draper called a local radio station Wednesday afternoon to disprove that statement. But it is now official: Kris Draper has signed a four-year, $11.2 million dollar contract with the Wings. And to cement his status as part of the inner-core of the team and a potential future captain, the contract includes a no-trade clause that will keep Draper, 33, in Hockeytown through his 37th birthday. The Wings acquired Draper from the Winnipeg Jets in 1993 for one dollar. Draper's past three seasons for the Wings have produced 30, 35, and 40 point season totals, all career years. This past season, Draper had 24 goals and 16 assists (thus 40 points), and won the Selke Trophy as the NHL's top defensive forward. News of the deal is relief to Wings fans that Draper will not take a career-season and jump boats. In 2001, after a career-season of 27 goals and 30 assists, Martin Lapointe signed a blockbuster contract with the Boston Bruins. And similar to Draper, Lapointe was considered by many to be the Wings' next captain. Still, it was hard to think of Draper ever leaving the Wings. Publicly, Kris has said he didn't want to leave Detroit. And the Wings expressed similar views. So, 15 minutes before midnight Wednesday, Draper got the call that confirmed the deal was done and he would be staying with the Wings. The deal was inked at approximately 11:40 PM Wednesday night. Draper earned $1.475 million last season, and will make $2.8 million each of the next four seasons, with the possibility for performance bonuses. Draper comments on the deal:
"I'm just thrilled. This is what I really wanted. It was an interesting process but I signed a four-year deal with the team I really wanted to stay with. [the no-trade clause] was big. I've played 15 years [1993 through 2008] with the same team, the no-trade clause means a lot to me. That's why I wanted to get this done before testing free agency."
General Manager Ken Holland's feelings on the deal:
"We are all very pleased to have Kris signed for the next four seasons. He has been a vital part of this teams' success over the years and having him back will help our club remain competitive for seasons to come."
And for those north of the border, Happy Canada Day! Remaining Players to Sign: Brendan Shanahan Mathieu Schneider Chris Chelios Boyd Devereaux Mathieu Dandenault Jiri Fischer Steve Yzerman Jason Williams Pavel Datsyuk


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